Monday, January 30, 2012

The New Papacy of Episcopal Church USA Hits A Rough Spot

I am one of the few Catholic bloggers it seems that takes an interest in the Episcopal Church on a consistent basis. In fact I might do a ost soon on their first prayer book.

I find a lot of the issues in this faith community pretty intriguing. For instance I think it is beyond dispute that the National Church has gained more power in just a matter of decades versus the local Dioceses. Further that has meant the "Presiding Bishop " ( Now Primate ? ) has gained more power. Many are wondering how exactly this happened but it has.

So I saw with interest at MCJ this interesting dust up between the leadership. See AS THE WORLD TURNS

This comment I thought was apt:

Dear Bonnie,
I regret to inform you that yes, Katharine is the boss of you. Oh, you may be President of the House of Deputies, but that just means they’re happy to let you play in your sandbox with all the other kindergartners while the real power is elsewhere.
Don’t believe me? Okay, then explain the following points:

(a) Why the insistence in the lawsuits that TEC is so too a hierarchical church, with the Presiding Bishop (and no mention of anyone else that I remember) having a fiduciary duty to sue the hassocks out of any departing members? In a hierarchy, there are people at the top and people at the bottom.

(b) You lot are the ones who introduced clericalism into the mix. If you hadn’t made it a matter of JUSTICE!!!! and CIVIL RIGHTS!!!!! to hang a stole, surplice and cope on first women and then the LGBT constituency so that they could be clergypersons and bishops, then maybe we might believe all that guff about TEC is democratic, the laity have just as much influence and status as the clergy, yadda yadda yadda. I don’t see you demanding that the World Tiddlywinks Championship should have a special LGBT league as a matter of justice and civil rights. So obviously, as far as you guys are concerned, the vestments are where it’s at.

(c) Why is your Presiding Bishop a Primate (after the not-so-kind gorilla jokes about Global South primates, too?) To give her equal status with the archbishops and primates of the other member churches of the Anglican Communion – you know, those same Neanderthals, knuckle-draggers and chicken-dinner eaters that you lot looked down your noses at whilst wrapping yourselves in Old Glory and lecturing them about what a special snowflake TEC was, with its democratic polity and three equal houses of representation?

(d) What’s with the “2.4 million members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses” bit on the website? Could this possibly be nudging towards a claim that you lot are an international communion – or even a worldwide denomination – of your very own? Because correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t the churches of Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti and so forth be their very own churches, given that you’re not fans of colonialism?

(e) Putting points (c) and (d) together, could it possibly be that the Presiding Bishop feels herself to be the equal of, and playing the same role as, the Archbishop of Canterbury? Or better yet, the Pope, since poor old Rowan gets hammered every time he tries to exercise a fragment of discipline and authority with loud yells of “No Anglican Pope here!” and “We don’t want a Curia!”

(f) All of which mean, that sorry, but you being a laywoman and she being the Pope person in the biggest of the big hats, she can talk to whomsoever she darn well likes without let or hindrance from you. Next thing you know, you won’t even let her process into the House of Deputies carrying her crosier and wearing her mitre! (Remember all the kerfuffle over the ‘insulting treatment’ of Bishop Jefferts Schori when the Archbishop enforced the same rules on visiting clergy and who can and who cannot exhibit tokens of governance as you’re trying to enforce here with who can and who can’t directly talk to the Deputies without going through you first?).

This is nothing new of course . Back in the 70's and 80's when Progressives ruled the Catholic Church in the USA they could use and accumulate power quite well.

Sister ( x) might do a good job of talking about the all male un democractic Church , but she was pretty good at the local Parish or Campus Ministry of freezing out "pre Vatican II" folks and replacing them with the "Spirit of Vatican II crowd. I saw this on the Campus Ministry level where religious were dominant all the time.

Progressives no matter their sex or sexual orientation are very good at accumulating power and using it for the common good. How this plays out in the Episcopal Church remains to be seen. There might be signs of regret to come yet.

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